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Mechanical and Technical Processes. Materials 137
green rind stripped off; they were then cut into thick slices and
laid parallel to each other, and slightly overlapping, on an
absorbent cloth. Another similar layer was laid above and
across them and the whole covered by another cloth. It was
then hammered with a mallet for about two hours, which
caused the sheets, without the addition of any adhesive, to
become welded into a single mass, which was finally pressed and
dried. Papyrus sheets date from the First Dynasty, and inscribed
sheets are known from the Fifth Dynasty.
The native Egyptian woods which have been definitely.identi-
fied as having been used by the ancient carpenters are sidder
(Arabic nabq), sycamore fig, tamarisk, willow and persea. The
last was a sacred tree but was occasionally used in the Eighteenth
Dynasty for making funerary objects. Among the imported
woods were cedar and cypress (predynastic), ebony (1st Dyn.),
jumper (Illrd Dyn.), fir (Vth Dyn.), yew (Vlth Dyn.), oak
(XVIIIth Dyn.), and box and beech (Roman times).
The advent of carpentry (Fig. n) very naturally followed
at once the application of metal for tools, but specimens of
the craft from predynastic times are extremely rare. By the
First Dynasty a complete mastery over wood had been obtained,
elaborately decorated boxes were being made, and scenes were
being carved on labels. Boat-building had been in full swing
for many ages before. By the Third Dynasty the carpenters had
even invented ply-wood consisting of six alternate layers of
different woods! In the earliest coffins (Illrd Dyn.) the
halved, mitred and concealed mitre joints were freely used. By
the Fourth Dynasty statues were made of wood, one, a master-
piece in any age or clime, the 'Sheikh el-Beled', being of thia
date. The art of veneering, inlaying with ivory and ebony, and
overlaying with gold, silver, and copper appears early and reaches
an almost incredible perfection in the marquetry work of the
Eighteenth Dynasty (Fig. 12). Nails usually consisted of wooden
pegs, but very minute nails of metal, such as gold, for affixing,